Old Monk XXX Vatted 7 Year Old Rum

Old Monk Rum India ReviewOld Monk is a dark vatted 7 year old rum from (wait for it…) Utter Pradesh, India.  It was the best selling rum in the world until very recently, despite not advertising at all.  It’s record breaking sales admittedly were overwhelmingly in India where it has been replaced by McDowells No1 Rum as the best seller.

I’d been curious about this rum ever since I first saw it on the Whisky Exchange.  The stubby bottle and the 70′s label left me wondering how it sold so well with such strange packaging.  In India the rum is available in a variety of bottle sizes and a lot of the sales are of smaller size bottles sub 70cl.  It is seen as a cheap way of getting a buzz in India.  I’m thinking its seen a little like Frosty Jack in England or Buckfast in Scotland.  The Indian’s obviously have a little more class, or this rum is going to be as rough as a badgers backside.

The bottle I received has a kind of glass netting on the bottle (presumably to make gripping it easier in such a hot sticky climate) as mentioned already the bottle is a stubby little thing a little like a less stylish Appleton style bottle.  The closure is a plastic screw top which is quite sturdy and being from India it has a pourer style top to prevent nefarious types from replacing the rum with Moonshine.  The rum is bottled at 40% and my bottle denotes that it must be sold only in the UK.

Reviews for this rum were mixed.  The man on the street seemed to enjoy it but the majority of the online rum snobs seemed to turn their noses up at it for being overly sweet.  I find comments like these a little odd especially when the same people rave over Demerara rums such as El Dorado.

To my mind this rum’s closest cousin (I’ve not yet sourced a bottle of McDowell’s) are the Demerara Rum’s of Guyana.  It is a thick rich dark rum.  Some reviewers note that the rum has a lot of vanilla in its profile.  I’m not really getting that, it’s certainly nowhere near the biggest vanilla pirate Captain Morgans Spiced Gold.  There is a hint of vanilla but not on that scale.  It is very rich and bold in flavour. It is sweet and reminds me a little of a Baileys type taste.  There is a definite kick of alcohol in amongst it.  It would go well with some vanilla ice cream or in a flambe or even on pancakes!

It’s not a rum you could sip, neat the alcohol comes through far too much and the burn is very evident on the tongue even with a tiny sip.  Its not rough like other rums but it is boozy neat.  It’s a rum which to me only really sits well with cola or in an Irish sorry Indian coffee.  I haven’t tried it with lemonade or ginger beer but it just wouldn’t work.  I don’t think it would be suited to a punch style fruit juice either, its already mega sweet.  Your teeth would probably fall out.

With a cola if you want a sweet almost sickly rum this will be for you.  It’s the kind of rum which you can mix extremely liberally and probably find yourself waking up wondering where the bottle went.  Apparently this rum doesn’t give you much of a hangover (I’ve heard that one before) so that could be a bonus.

All in all for me this is a rum worth giving a try if you like the Demerara rums.  It has been noted that this is a spiced rum in some quarters, it isn’t but its not far off.  If it was a spiced rum it wouldn’t be a bad one.

If you are looking for something a bit different then at around £20 this is worth checking out.  I wouldn’t recommend it to everyone because its definitely a rum which will split rum drinkers down the middle with few sitting on the fence over it.

I found it a pleasant change and I will probably order another bottle for that very reason.

3 stars

 

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